Friday, November 30, 2012

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Azeen Ghorayshi
Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Sure it's raining, sure that sucks, but think of it as a way to have more life moments like these:


(Sources say "inclement weather turns people on"—I say run with it!) In any case, here are five things you can do with yourself this weekend, frisky and otherwise:

Get Freaky
Fans of digital-heavy electronic music — often classified as "glitch" for its beats laden with error noises such as skipping, scratching, and hissing — should head to Get Freaky to hear Canadian duo Knight Riderz and local favorites the DirtyBird crew. Knight Riderz mixes glitch with instrumental hip-hop in mid-tempo tracks that build with kick drums and wobbly, low-frequently bass. Expect a diverse set of remixes — Knight Riderz has given the low-end treatment to everyone from hip-hop duo King Fantastic to Radiohead. San Francisco-based label DirtyBird fills its own room with its DJs Christian Martin, Worthy, Ardalan, and Nick Monaco, regulars at the infamous DirtyBird barbecues in Golden Gate Park that have been going strong for a decade. DirtyBird's sound takes the minimal techno that originated in Detroit and the UK and bumps up the booty-shaking with thumping bass lines, bounce, and breakbeat; unlike dubstep's trance builds and big drops, these beats stay consistent and danceable. Ambient, sonically cinematic producer Bluetech headlines Get Freaky at 1015 Folsom on Friday, Nov. 30. 10 p.m., $15, $20. — Whitney Phaneuf

  • Allesandra Mello

The White Snake
Mary Zimmerman’s The White Snake is a visually stunning adaptation of an ancient Chinese fable. In this world premiere Berkeley Rep production, the visionary director once again demonstrates the magic of low-tech. The play uses artful puppetry and minimalist impressionistic design flourishes to tell the tale of a snake from the spirit world who transforms herself into a woman to join the mortals on Earth and seduce a trusting man. Zimmerman has made a career of revamping classics, reinventing myths and fables in surprising ways that remind us of their relevance. The White Snake reconsiders the specter of a snake as a symbol of sorcery and temptation and of the battle between good and evil. The play may not be as narratively engaging as Zimmerman’s other works (Metamorphosis Argonautika or The Arabian Nights), but it a striking spectacle of stage design and performance art. Through December 23 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. $35-$93. —Erika Milvy

Thirty Years Under the Influence
Jörg Rupf at St. George Spirits has changed the way we all drink. Coming to America during the "white wine spritzer world" of the 1980s, Rupf started St. George with one goal in mind — to make spirits that actually tasted like what they came from. Now, thirty years later, his craft distillery has not only expanded to produce single malt whiskeys, gins, and absinthe, it's also sparked a thriving industry of artisinal spirits. This Friday, come celebrate St. George's thirty year anniversary with a night of cocktails at their famous World War II-era airplane hanger in Alameda, and make sure to stare, glassy-eyed, at their giant shark statue. 7—10 p.m., $75. Ages 21 and up. St. George Spirits/Hangar One Vodka. StGeorges30th.EventBrite.comAzeen Ghorayshi


XXX: Peculiar Stag Films 1935-1979
As it turns out, sex has been sexy for all of time. On Saturday, Dec. 1, take a trip through the modern age of erotic art at Studio Quercus, which is opening its vault of historic films to the public to show selected snippets of erotica made between 1935 and 1979. The movie night will complement the studio’s current art exhibit, “The Nude 2012”, and will feature characteristic films from each decade — teasing black-and-whites from the Thirties and Forties, instructive footage for mechanical auto-erotic apparatus from the Fifties, and flashy Seventies classics. All will be revealed, so the event is not for the faint of heart. Ages eighteen and up. 8 p.m., $10. — A.G.

Oakland Children's Holiday Parade
Take a kid’s baseline level of excitement about parades, jack it up another notch, and you’ve got the America’s Children’s Holiday Parade, happening this Saturday, Dec. 1 in Downtown Oakland. The parade will feature a veritable who’s who of cartoon and storybook favorites — from Clifford to Wild Thing to Strawberry Shortcake — as well as giant balloons of timeless holiday stars — including Rudolph, the Gingerbread Man, and Magnificent the Snowman. Musical accompaniment for all that walking includes an impressive list of local high school marching bands, as well as performances by Radio Disney star Amber Lily, pop singer Emme, and the Bieber-esque Jeremy Thurber. Come early — according to the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, over 100,000 people are expected to attend. 2 p.m., free. Americas-Holiday-Parade.comA.G.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mission Creek Oakland Brings Monthly Music Series to The Uptown

by Whitney Phaneuf
Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Mission Creek Oakland, the Oakland edition of the San Francisco arts festival that showcases local bands, will hold the second edition of its new monthly music series at The Uptown this Thursday, November 29 (9 p.m., $5). The lineup is a trio of synth and indie rock duos, with Oakland's Believe headlining, joined by Santa Rosa's Teenage Sweater and Oakland's LESSONS.

Teenage Sweater plays the Uptown as part of Mission Creek Oakland's new music series.
  • Teenage Sweater
  • Teenage Sweater plays the Uptown as part of Mission Creek Oakland's new music series.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

The Runners-Up: All the Albums That Barely Missed the Cut for our Top Ten of 2012 Lists

by Ellen Cushing
Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Because you've obviously already pored over our Best Albums of 2012 extravaganza, it should come as no surprise that whittling each of our lists down to ten was a task of Herculean intellectual fortitude, and a lot of great records were left out of the fun. Herewith, the also-rans, with streaming/download links where we could find them:

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Psst...Pass it On: What We Like Right Now

by Whitney Phaneuf
Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 8:00 AM

If you're still in a post-Thanksgiving malaise, we discovered some cool stuff to make your Monday brighter. Here's what our Express staff writers are currently obsessed with:


The best of the Record Store Day Black Friday releases is probably the Asobi Seksu/ Boris split 7". The bands — the former a delightful NY shoegaze outfit, the latter a kick-ass Japanese sludge/drone/experimental group — cover each other with the tracks "Neu Years" and "Farewell." Each reimagining has its own distinct flavor, but both remain faithful to the stubborn beauty and energy of the original. Fun Fact: Boris took its name from a song by Melvins, who, by the way, are signed to Emeryville's own Alternative Tentacles record label. — Lenika Cruz

Can’t stop listening to this YouTube mashup of LCD Soundsystem and Miles Davis. — Ellen Cushing

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Azeen Ghorayshi
Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 10:30 AM

This Thanksgiving we should all be thankful we live in a place where there is SO MUCH FUN SHIT TO DO ALWAYS. Here are five things you can do with yourself this weekend:

Plaid Friday
The day after Thanksgiving no longer needs to send shivers down your spine — in Oakland, Black Friday is now wearing plaid. Put on your best flannel and visit over thirty Downtown Oakland shops for special discounts all day. Even better, collect stamps at each Plaid Friday store you visit and redeem them for extra-special deals at participating bars, restaurants, and cafes in the area. Shop local, eat local, and remember why holiday gift shopping doesn't need to be synonymous with hell. Visit for a map of participating businesses and more details.


Mentioning Bells in my "intro to me" opus I wrote my first week as music editor may have been a misstep — there are more global-fusion bands in my inbox than you can shake a maraca at — and yet I don't regret promoting the East Bay's answer to one of my favorite Brooklyn bands, Ava Luna. Like Ava Luna, Bells is a group of men and women who play a percussion-heavy style of various genres: art rock, Afro-pop, jazz, blues, and lounge, to name a few. At Bells' recent Cafe du Nord gig, it played a tight but improvisational set that held the energy of a band whose members truly loved making music together. The intimate, jazz-geared Disco Volante should be an ideal venue for Bells, which plays an entire show by itself on Saturday, Nov. 24, before taking off for two weeks of gigs in Miami. 9 p.m., $5. DiscoVolanteOakland.comWhitney Phaneuf

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Psst...Pass it On: What We Like Right Now

by Whitney Phaneuf
Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 8:00 AM

We're constantly on the lookout for cool stuff to share with readers, and there is always more than what we can fit in the Express in the form of Picks and Reviews. Here's what our staff writers like right now:

Local Likes

Laughed until I cried watching Oakland native Moshe Kasher's new stand-up video Moshe Kasher: Live in Oakland, filmed at The New Parish. Stream it via Netflix. —Whitney Phaneuf

Oakland indie rockers Saything will get the Steve Albini production treatment on its new album, due in the spring, as reported by the Deli SF. Listen here to Saything's 2010 album Momentary Ens. — W.P.

This is not to make anyone start thinking about Thanksgiving pounds, but I love this Pilates YouTube channel called Blogilates. It’s run by a fairly young East Bay native (who now lives in San Francisco) named Cassey Ho — she’s pretty amazing and has totally BLOWN UP since I started following her a few years ago. But the best part is her videos are doable, fun, and 100 percent effective — she even has one called "Post-Thanksgiving Tune-Up" (it’s only like five minutes long). — Lenika Cruz

Right now I'm really digging the hachiya persimmons from Guru Ram Das Orchards stand at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets (Tuesdays and Saturdays). A ripe hachiya — skin blackened as though charred, flesh soft as jelly — is better than candy, and one of the very best parts of fall. Slice in half and eat, very carefully, with a spoon. — Luke Tsai

Ripe Hachiya persimmons on a tree
  • Downtowngal via Wikipedia
  • Ripe Hachiya persimmons on a tree

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Beginnings and Endings: Toro Y Moi at Public Works, Birds & Batteries' Last Show

by Whitney Phaneuf
Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Indie-pop producer Toro Y Moi, aka Chaz Bundick, has said his recent move to Berkeley inspired his forthcoming album, Anything in Return. Hear for yourself at his weekend-long listening party and art show at Public Works, running three consecutive nights starting tonight, Friday November 16.

On display all weekend will be thirteen original drawings by Bundick, created to correspond with a specific song off the new album, which will be playing on nearby headphones. If Bundick's DJ set, Sunday from 5-11 p.m., is anything like his recent performance at Treasure Island Music Festival, expect lots of disco and funk. The album's out January 22; in the meantime, here's a sneak peak:

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Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Azeen Ghorayshi
Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Just like that — it's Friday! Here's what you should check out this weekend:

Co-Launch Party for Beeswax and Monday Night Magazines
For all the talk of print dying, 'zines, lit mags, and various other publications of the decidedly low-budget, low-gloss, underground and indie persuasion aren't just hanging on — they're thriving. To wit, on Friday, Nov. 16, not one but two new local magazines celebrate their new issues at Diesel: Monday Night, a long-running journal of poetry and prose; and Beeswax, an Oakland-based multimedia mag that employs such delightfully old-school flights of design fancy as letterpress covers and hand-stitched spines. Both will be represented by a bevy of high-profile local talent — Monday Night by writer-artist Sean Craven and poet Valerie Witte, and Beeswax by novelist Hugh Behm-Steinberg and poet Diana Aehegma — and are certain to double-handedly restore your faith in the power of ink on paper. 7 p.m., free. 510-653-9965 or DieselBookstore.comEllen Cushing

Late Night Little Bites
Out late? Can't face heading home hungry? Bocanova has instituted a brand-new "Late Nite Boca Bite" menu, featuring bocaditos ("little bites") at happy-hour prices served from 9 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. every Thursday through Saturday. Bocaditos include yuca-and-cheese fritters, fried plantains with cilantro aioli, Dungeness crab deviled eggs with chipotle aioli, taco-del-día with pickled cabbage, and pork ribs with guava-barbecue sauce. Specially priced cocktails, wine, and beer wash it all down. $1.50 and up. 510-444-1233 or Bocanova.comAnneli Rufus


Yes, Bay Area
Lit events don't get much more dynamic, contemporary, or quietly subversive than this. Yes, Bay Area features not an author, but a rapper (local hero Lyrics Born), reading not a novel, but his own tweets, for a crowd that we can only assume will be not lit-event sedated but rap-show engaged. Brought to you by First Person Singular, a lit series that's basically made a mission out of being dynamic/contemporary/subversive, the event will feature 140-character nuggets of wisdom culled from the rapper's limited-edition book of the same. To which we can only say: Yes, Bay Area. At Pegasus Books Downtown on Sunday, Nov. 18. 7:30 p.m., free. 510-649-1320 or PegasusBookstore.comE.C.

2 x 2 Solos: Cybele Lyle and Wafaa Yasin
For the second installment of its 2 x 2 Solos series, Pro Arts Gallery lends its space to Cybele Lyle and Wafaa Yasin, both of who are concerned with what could be called "shifting spaces." This is the title of Lyle's work, an installation of angular platforms protruding from the gallery wall, vaguely resembling an open book. The work is unassuming, even uninteresting, in and of itself, but an accompanying book, filled with schematic iterations of the sculpture spliced with images of natural terrain, reveals an unexpected depth in its ambitions. For Yasin, meanwhile, the shifting space is simultaneously the Israeli/Palestinian border (Yasin was born in Galilee) and her own body. In one video work, she fashions herself into a human yacht and sets sail. In another, civil engineers discuss logistics pertaining to hillside housing developments, using the artist's pregnant belly for model terrain. 2 x 2 Solos: Cybele Lyle and Wafaa Yasin run through November 30 at Pro Arts Gallery. 510-763-4361 or ProArtsGallery.orgAlex Bigman


The Joy Formidable
We get the sense that The Joy Formidable is aiming for world domination, and won't stop until it achieves it. Its trailer for its new album, Wolf's Law, is a bit of spectacular hyperbole — setting its quiet/loud title track anthem against visuals of massive global events (waterfalls, alligator births, lightning storms, volcanic eruptions). We get it; this is epic stuff. That said, we do have a soft spot for this Welsh alt-rock trio, if only because the members are so earnest in their wanting to entertain and write the best songs ever. Expect the live show to be over the top — if you can stomach it. At the newly opened Chapel (777 Valencia St., San Francisco) on Tuesday, Nov. 20. 9 p.m., $25 — Kathleen Richards

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weekender: This Weekend's Top Five Events

by Azeen Ghorayshi
Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 6:00 AM

How many times did you cry before/on/after election night? Whether you've shed tears of joy or dejection, put the crying behind you because it's all over! To make things even better, it's the weekend, and here are the best things you can do with yourself this gloriously unpolitical Friday through Sunday:

17th Annual Crush Festival
Set for Sunday, Nov. 11, at the Berkeley Marina DoubleTree, the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce's seventeenth-annual Crush Festival celebrates local gourmet food and wine. This year's theme is "Qué Syrah, Syrah," with more than two dozen participants including Fenestra Winery, Pyramid Alehouse, Rosenblum Cellars, Skates on the Bay, Cafe V, Whole Foods Market, the Terrace Room, and more. Each guest gets a free wine glass and party tray. 2 p.m., $50. 510-549-7000 or BerkeleyCrushFest.comAnneli Rufus


California Contributions: 50 Years of Studio Glass
According to the folks at industrial-art studio The Crucible, glass is a "hot, glossy, temperamental, and very sexy" art medium. But that hasn't always been the case; in fact, through the 1950s, it was viewed almost exclusively as an industrial material. The "Studio Glass" movement that opened the floodgates to glasswork as an art form began in 1962, and The Crucible will celebrate its fifty-year anniversary with a two-day glass-art festival on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 11-12. Visitors can catch glass-blowing, casting, neon, and flame-working demonstrations from some of The Crucible's glass faculty, participate in workshops, view more than eighty pieces of glass art, and purchase gifts. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., $15 per day. 510-444-0919 or CaliforniaStudioGlass.orgAzeen Ghorayshi

As if artist and event organizer Sarah Sexton (aka Ssquar’d) of local production company Oaktown Indie Mayhem didn’t have her hands full with projects already, from the annual 48-Hour Film Festival to the monthly X-Over Music Series at Actual Cafe, she’s now hosting a monthly clothing swap. Held in the yard at Classic Cars West on every first Saturday of the month, THREADS affords ladies and gents alike an opportunity to trade in their tired garments for duds discarded by others. Aside from garment bartering, each event also features live music, local craft beer, and Rosamunde sausages for sale. And remember: Just as one man’s trash is another’s treasure, one woman’s worn-out cardigan is another’s flashy new sweater. 2-6 p.m., free. 510-302-5423 or


Japandroids are the guitar-and-drum duo du jour, a The Black Keys devoid of blues and driven instead by punk and DIY aesthetics. Its latest album, Celebration Rock, a likely pick for many critics' year-end lists, has the Vancouver boys borrowing from early Bruce Springsteen to make anthemic rock that, like The Black Keys, has earned them crossover appeal from hipsters to cool dads. Japandroids put on a loud and raucous live show, drawing comparisons to The Replacements, with each member screeching husky vocals while banging out an incredibly full sound from just guitar and drums. They'll stop by The Fillmore on Monday, Nov. 12. Sister garage-rock duo Bleached will inject the set with much needed estrogen. 8 p.m., $20. TheFillmore.comWhitney Phaneuf

Woody Guthrie's American Song
How better to celebrate the life of Woody Guthrie than through his own music? UC Berkeley Theater Department chair Peter Glazer first premiered Woody Guthrie's American Song, his acclaimed musical telling Guthrie's life story, in 1989 — but the show returns to Cal, for a two-week run beginning on Friday, Nov. 9 . Featuring the music and writings of the Oklahoma-born folk hero, the story follows Guthrie on his two-decade journey through America, witnessing the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and World War II. Through November 18.Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.; $15 general admission, $10 for UCB students. 510-642-8827 or TDPS.Berkeley.eduA.G.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New LGBTQ Youth Center, QTY Treehouse, Opens Friday

by Whitney Phaneuf
Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Pike Long remembers what it was like to be underage, queer, and searching for something fun to do. "When I was a teen, I was a raver," said Long, coordinator for the San Francisco-based non-profit Health Initiatives for Youth. "Back then, all my friends were using drugs and selling drugs. I want people to feel like there is someplace to go that offers a creative outlet, not just 'let's get high and have sex.' " Now Long, with the help of local non-profit Health Initiatives For Youth, is hoping to create an alternative to house parties with a new drop-in center for queer and trans youth: QTY Treehouse (1924 Franklin St., Oakland), which opens tomorrow, Friday, November 9, with a kick-off party at 6:00 p.m.

QTY Treehouse, a new queer and trans youth center, opens in downtown Oakland
  • QTY Treehouse
  • QTY Treehouse, a new queer and trans youth center, opens in downtown Oakland

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